So I started this blog by proclaiming I am an adventurer. I guess that is because I set out on adventures and journeys, small and large, however I haven’t done any real adventure activities, per se, on this trip yet. It’s mostly just been traveling around, meeting people, experiencing different cultures, running, and seeing the sights. But then I arrived in Interlaken, Switzerland, which was like a dream, and I could probably take every vacation the rest of my life in a place like it.
When I rolled into the city by train I was basically on a train journey that started from Rome that built up the anticipation of Switzerland by becoming more and more beautiful along the way.
I could also probably vacation the entire time on trains, I love them so much. The beauty you see from minute to minute is unimaginable. My train ride from Milan to Interlaken was definitely the best train ride I’ve been on so far. First of all, I love mountains. And when you go from the mountains in Italy to snow-covered mountains further north it is such a fantastic transition. All the little mountain towns are so quaint and I wanted to stop at every single one of them. I saw one river town that had one sole boat on it that looked kind of like my family boat from my childhood back in my hometown: a cruiser with a red top. It was raining but those people were out on the river anyway. Because they could be. I saw an island packed with buildings in the middle of a river as well. In some of the tunnels there were openings so you could sneak a peak of the landscape which felt like an awesome little treat. I saw a marble mine through one of them. The train also passed by a big lake with houses and houseboats, which also reminded me of my homeotown. If you have never been to La Crosse, WI in the US it definitely rivals the beauty here in Italy and Switzerland. It makes me so grateful to have grown up where beauty was all around me. I was lucky to have grown up on the Mississippi and lived the river life every summer and the ski bum life every winter (Thanks, Mom and Dad!). If you were lucky enough to live this life you know what I mean.
I couldn’t exactly capture very many (or, any) good pictures since the train was moving very fast.
I usually don’t think scenery is that great if it is rainy, but it was still. so. beautiful.
Interlaken itself was heart-stoppingly beautiful. I’m going to have to get better at my adjectives because beautiful and picturesque don’t quite capture the serenity that I experienced as I arrived.
Interlaken, and Switzerland in general, is at the top of many people’s lists of their favorite places. There is so much to do in the way of outdoor activities, but I only have limited funds, and time, so I had to pick and choose. Luckily the weather sort of chose for me. I went at the very beginning of their summer season, which started May 1st. It was quite cold and snowy up in the mountains above around 5,300 feet. It was a little warmer in Interlaken itself which is at 1,864 ft.
In my time in Interlaken I chose to hike at Harder Kulm, hike some more at Grindelwald towards First, run along the Aar river and lake Brienz, took the the train ride to the top of Jungfrau (the highest point by train in Europe at 11,332 ft), and I did something I was scared of: paragliding! You can also go canyoning, experience skydiving, explore caves, hang-glide, rent bicycles, go rafting, and ski just to name a few. I already know I’ll have to come back in the summer, or in the winter, or both to do more of these activities. 🙂
Harder Kulm had a really great view of Interlaken. You can take a train up to the lookout point, which I did, and then hike from there. The trails were really muddy and steep so I didn’t get too far but the views were worth it.
I also spent another day hiking from Grindewald up towards First. We hiked to Bort, and continued a short distance further until the amount of snow prohibited us to go further. It was cold, but the cool weather kept us a good temperature since the hike was a really good workout.
The next day I went paragliding. I was a little nervous since I have never done anything like that before, but it was awesome! It was seriously so relaxing I barely even felt like I was running off a mountain and into the clouds. The pilots at least have to be able to see the ground before they take off so we waited about 10 minutes at the top for the clouds and fog to lift a little.
The pilot was awesome and made the ride really fun. He was really instructive so I felt really comfortable with the procedures of running off the mountain and upon landing. I barely was nervous at all when we were in the air since the scenery was so amazing. It wasn’t a sunny day, but it was at least clear to see the mountains and both lakes so it was definitely worth the trip. We went paragliding through ParaGliding-Interlaken. I highly recommend them, especially my pilot, Nick!
Later that day I took the trains up to Jungfrau. You have to change trains three times but it was really easy and there were so many tourists doing the same thing that it wasn’t hard to get up there. The train takes you up to the “Top of Europe”, which is the highest point with train access in Europe. It was a really scenic train ride to the top and it was a partly sunny/partly cloudy day. It was sunny and of course snowy on top! It was fun to walk around in the snow outside. The ski area didn’t appear to be open and even if it was (meaning I just couldn’t find it), I had absolutely no gear (hat, gloves, etc) so it likely would have been very costly, but I did try to find it because it would have been fun to ski up there, and one last time this season! I was short on time as well, and I’d recommend leaving that as an all-day activity. It takes 5 hours round trip and I didn’t get up there until 3:30 PM.
Upon leaving Swizterland, I was told multiple times and very genuinely, “enjoy your journey” by various Swiss people on trains and at the hostel I stayed. There is something profound yet simple about saying “enjoy your journey”. It is a kind sentiment since I am on a travel journey, but we are all on a journey of one kind or another, so I hope you enjoy your journey as well today, whether you are on your way to work, replying to that next e-mail, or are traveling to the next city. The journey is constant, so make it a good one and enjoy it fully!